They know the state of the world is sub-par when it becomes necessary to invent a new word to describe what we are going through. For example, ten years ago, according to the Collins English Dictionary, we lived in omnishambles.
n omnishambles is “something that is completely and continuously shambolic” and was named Word of the Year by Collins in 2012.
As murky as that definition is, it still hasn’t been considered to have enough breadth to capture our current range of disasters.
To meet the challenge of 2022, the term “permacrisis” was coined.
It was nominated by Collins as this year’s most appropriate term to sum up “live through”. [a] Wartime, Inflation and Political Instability”.
“There wasn’t much to celebrate this year,” remarked Helen Newstead, language content consultant at Collins Dictionary, somewhat apologetically.
The late Conor Cruise O’Brien came up with a word that would be hard to beat when it comes to capturing things that can only exist in the spaces between the improbable and the impossible – that is, until you stumble across them and fall flat your face.
His word, of course, was GUBU. He first used it in 1982 to express what a speechless nation had felt about a series of unfortunate, deeply confusing events.
It was an acronym for “grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented,” words referring to the discovery and arrest of murder suspect Malcolm MacArthur.
Famed poet TS Eliot asked, “If you don’t outgrow your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
If we have gained any importance as a nation, it is because we have stood on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. They stood steadfast in difficult times, just like their predecessors.
Japanese author and philosopher Kenji Miyazawa advised, “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”
His words of wisdom are unlikely to meet with much gratitude at this time, when pain abounds and affordable fuel is non-existent.
It is in the nature of the world and all that it causes that times of need come and go. They either break us or steel us so we can better prepare for the next lightning bolt.
To use another expression that in an era of austerity has become synonymous with going nowhere: “We are where we are”.
All in all, it’s no surprise that we might be feeling a little crazy.
If that’s how you feel on this cold and dark November day, remember that even the biggest oak tree was once a small nut to hold its own.
Eventually the temperature will rise, the dark will give way to the light. This too shall pass.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/this-time-of-great-difficulty-will-strengthen-our-collective-resolve-42112057.html This time of great difficulty will strengthen our collective resolve